Eastern Districts – Medals, Medals, Medals

10670088_818908484815845_1280574980505304127_nThe competition was held at Napier University and went off rather swimmingly, big thanks to them for hosting them competition. Most of the lifters did well, most were sneaking some PRs and some popped their competition cherry so they now have something to aim for. I am going to run down some of the lifters and deliver a compliment sandwich and look at where they went wrong. For the first timers I am happy that they posted a total, other lifters competed but were either carrying injuries (Pete) or back off a long term injury and now has gained a second set of trap muscles (Michal) it would be unfair to comment when they are just back in the hunt. Quadzilla (Alejandro) also competed and went 6/6, glad that he finally stepped on the platform, he won the 69kg class with his openers. (I will edit when I get the videos).

Ian Paul – 105KG Class (1st place)

Went 6/6 going 100/117 so a +17kg Total for Mr All-rounder.

Snatch 1 @ 0:10

Decent Extension and turnover, receives a little in front of center of balance so he has to step on the recovery. Solid enough opener, a common problem for him is that his feet are quite static on the pull under rather than using his flexibility and catching low. He needs to move his feet wider to support bigger weights.

Snatch 2 @ 0:22

Little better with the feet, starting to move slightly wider. Easy to see the difference it makes when the chest is higher up on the catch. Rather than making up for it in the shoulders, the hips and legs take the weight.

Snatch 3 @ 0:32

Spot on First and second pull, back angle remains constant whilst he gets past the knees and the bar is always travelling towards him. His feet are a little static here, so again he has to work on moving those feet wider. A great example below. (Obviously the sport mastery level is off the chart, but you want to draw parallels when you can.) The foot position that he adopts on the catch allows him to receive low.

Some lifters adopt a wider stance on the pull, it’s something that can be played with. Example below (even then, his feet move a little wider, not as dramatic as Liao though)

Clean 1 @ 0:46

Ian Jerk1Easy opener for the big man, his bottom position on the clean still needs a little work. Similar to his snatch, he needs to open the hips up a little more to take the pressure off the ankle. Otherwise on heavier weights that bar will just roll off. The jerk drive is reasonable efficient, although the foot placement afterwards is problematic for him. The hips move back and so the bar is out in front, his strong arms hold the weight. (All dat benching). The front foot lands a little too early, you want either same time or rear foot first.

Front foot hits a little early, combined with the backwards hip movement, the bar is a little out in front. The back foot lands straight and twist out. Somewhere in the chain there is an imbalance causing this twist.

Clean 2 @ 1:08

ian Jerk 2This is the Jerk that keeps on giving, fair play to him for holding it as long as he did! Far too much like Cardio for my liking. The clean was quite similar to the last, although his upper back is starting to take more of a pounding at the bottom position.

Even though the jerk went on for an eternity, the recovery position was actually better on this lift. His hips still move back slightly, not as dramatic in the first lift. The front knee angle is less than 90 degrees so jerk recovery will be very front foot dominant. The back knee angle is allowing Ian to press himself under the bar thus getting his hips lower. Good fight for making that one, probably earned him some star power points with the judges on the next lift.

Clean 3 @ 1:39

Ian Jerk 3Backstage Ian was understandably gassed after the last lift, I made sure to mention to Jerk the weight quicker than usual otherwise his legs would feel wiped. The Clean itself was lovely, no upper back rounding so the transition to the jerk was smooth. Hips still move back a little on this lift but the front leg is a touch more aggressive, resulting in more stable knee angle. (His shin is perpendicular to the floor). Decent enough jerk, awesome work considering how taxing the last lift must have been.


Lifts onto plates to reinforce that motor pattern of moving the feet, plenty of jerk work. Focusing on staying the the same place and moving the hips down.

Jordan Thomson (85kg 3rd Place)

For Jordan, this was a disappointing competition. He had an awkward run up to the competition, no excuses his total should have been higher. 2/6 is never a good day at the office. Weightlifting can be a cruel sport, you train for hours and you only have those 6 attempts to make it count. On the positive side, this has provided the bucket of cold water in the face that he needed to start focusing on the details. (“Master of the Mundane” to quote Travis Mash).

Snatch 1 @ 0:09

Great opening snatch, Jordan has worked hard on his flexibility and it is paying dividends these days. He can hit positions similar to top tier weightlifters, once his shoulders catch up he will be golden. He has a slight hop forward on the lift, so either his start position is a little too far on the toes or he could do with finishing his extension and sending that bar vertical.

Snatch 2 @ 0:16

jordan Snatch 2A very frustrating attempt, the bar is plenty high in order to make the lift. The arms extend rather lazily and he gets spat out. From the position that he hits in the picture to the right, he should make that lift, if he can keep the back tight and step forward. Unfortunately he cannot rescue the lift with his upper body and it’s a miss.

Snatch 3 @ 0:19

A little forward hop on this snatch causes a swing on the bar, this means that he receives the bar a little too far behind his body, his chest dips and that is the end of him. It was a decent attempt. For his part though he was frustrated with the snatches.

Jordan will have to start adjusting his opener and backing himself more in the snatch. His conservative opener of 90 meant that he had a big jump to 97 on the next lift. 7kg is quite a large jump in the snatch for a novice lifter, lots of repetitions to get used to working nearer his maxes will make him more comfortable opening closer to his max.

Clean 1 @ 0:30

Easy opener for Jordan, his changed from 110kg to 115kg, but with his low opener you could see that he wasn’t on his best form. The clean is decent enough, slight rounding in his upper back, something that he is working hard to address. Soon is will be a road map back there. The jerk is reasonable, could do with bearing a little more weight in his read leg, but it was very light for him. His wait time at the top of the clean is a little too long, I would prefer to see him transition faster to preserve the legs.

Clean 2 @ 0:51

Jerk 2Lovely clean, the upper back round is still present but he really caught the bounce of the weight, good timing. The jerk is disappointing, the bar gets driven forward quite far, it is still plenty high but just in the wrong place, Jordon’s upper body isn’t on par with his legs so he can’t afford to make those sorts of mistakes. If the bar was towards the rear by about 2 inches he would make that lift. Again the rear knee angle could also be reduced so that he presses himself under the bar more.

Clean 3 @ 1:12

JerkJ3The clean bottom position is a little on the toes, the bar got away from him slightly but he quickly recovers and transitions to the jerk. The jerk itself is quite good, unfortunately his arms bends slightly and he gets popped for a press out. On the whole the position was more stable than the previous lift but again his upper body let him down slightly. His strict press and push press are lagging when compared to his squats.


Lots of upper body work to bring that up to baseline, from his days of Rugby and American football, Jordan’s shoulders are somewhat busted up so it needs addressing. Since he is making progress through the classifications. His Average Volume Intensity has to increase, so more time spent picking up heavy ass weight.

David Reay (77kg – 1st Place)

10523130_699098283498652_7898943128946695003_nThe run up to the competition was very frustrating for me. I was carrying an Infraspinatus injury that was preventing me from Back squatting or Doing any sort of jerk accessory work and my body weight was quite high compared to where I would’ve wanted it to be after my China trip. So my cut was quite steep to make weight, I look like death in the photo to the left. I had an OK competition compared to what my goals were going into it.

Went 100/107/114 in the Snatch and 155x/155x/155 in the Clean. The Snatches we all pretty reasonable, my usual problem of my terrible hip flexibility means that my snatch is quite limited, it is a work in progress for sure. [114/155 x 100 = 73.55%. This should be up around 80-85% so there is work to do!] The lifts were all pretty conservative so they should be solid makes.

The jerks on the first two cleans were awful, all the lifts had the same mistake. My knees were almost caving on the jerk this leads to my hips were moving away from the center of balance. When driving up I would spit the jerk out forwards.

Above is the final lift, it is immensely frustrating to watch. I spit the bar forward and rely on my shoulders to bail me out of trouble. Fast feet for the save but I should never have been in that situation. Hopefully I can improve in the Scottish Nationals.

As a team we won every male class save for the 85’s. I am proud of the chaps + girl for the performances, looking forward to seeing some meaty totals come the Scottish Open.

A large part of Weightlifting is the mental aspect of the sport, you have to be able to deliver in a very small window. One or two inches is all it takes to change a great training block into a bad result. The sport is unforgiving some times. When you see the top athletes compete, it is hard to take into account how much pressure they are under. Some athletes turn to meditation, others to their music collection and play whatever gets them buzzing. Hitting that optimal arousal state is what is required and it is something every weightlifter needs to learn. Approaching each weight in training the same is key, you have to avoid the mindset of “this is a heavy weight” and “this is a training weight”. Technique should be crisp and everything should look similar.


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